Owning your ideal home is the Australian dream. With home ownership comes both security and freedom, but purchasing the perfect property often isn't possible for first home buyers. For younger people, it's more important to be getting your first foot on the property ladder and focus on the details of your dream home when you have greater equity.
If you shouldn't be prioritising your flights of fancy, what features will make a sensible first home investment on the Gold Coast?
One of the greatest barriers to young people entering the property market is increasing property values. For this reason, an affordable price tag is one of the most important factors in selecting a first home – if not a non-negotiable one.
Hopeful first home buyers should look at apartments in Surfers Paradise, where the median sale price sits at an accessible $377k, according to CoreLogic. With a lower purchase price, you'll require a smaller deposit and thus can more easily access the market – especially in tandem with supports like the first home buyers grant or super saver scheme.
While your first property is a stepping stone to your dream home, you'll likely spend more time living there than you might expect. As you pay off your mortgage, the equity in your home increases and you become more able to afford larger properties. It's important to remember that this does take time.
For this reason, you should look for a first home that you could reasonably live in for the foreseeable future – five to 10 years. For example, ensure there will be enough space for your family to grow if you plan on having children.
Location is crucial for first home buyers for a number of reasons. To start, location has a major impact on the value of a home. In-demand areas will naturally be more expensive than others, and values will increase with demand. So, finding a low-demand area that is likely to become more competitive in the future may be a good idea as you'll buy low and be able to sell high.
When a location is low-demand, however, it may be because there isn't significant infrastructure or amenities available nearby. Poor public transport accessibility or an absence of supermarkets, schools or community spaces may mean a more affordable home, but might also impact your quality of life. When you're likely to stay in one home for at least a few years, you need to balance affordability against your lifestyle needs.
As a first home buyer, you may not be experienced enough, or have sufficient capital, to carry out extensive renovations or frequent maintenance. For this reason, you might prefer to avoid homes that have not been well looked after. When attending open homes, look for signs of rotten trimming, dirty heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, or water damage. These should be immediate red flags. Remember to pay for a professional property inspection to ensure there are no underlying problems you may not be qualified to catch.
Of course, if you feel confident in your ability to renovate a home, purchasing a fixer-upper is one way to get on the property ladder. Just remember, you need to be able to live in the home while you're working on it – or afford to rent elsewhere.
There are certain areas of the home that will be more difficult for you to update than others – and some which can save you money. Properties with modern kitchens or bathrooms may require less upkeep and be more likely to have energy or water efficient fixtures.
Double glazed windows, thorough insulation and updated wiring can reduce your utilities costs and make your first home that much more affordable.
For fantastic Gold Coast real estate and first home opportunities, don't look past the listings offered by Ray White Surfers Paradise.